Texas: State Lawmakers Pass Reactionary Six-Week Abortion Ban

Photo Credit: Michael Barera

By Sandra Harris

This week the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 8, banning abortion at six weeks, before most women typically know they are pregnant. The reactionary bill is in essence a total ban on abortion and also allows any individual to sue any other individual who helps someone obtain an abortion, including physicians, medical clinics, and even, for example, a person who provides a patient a ride to an abortion clinic.

Texas governor Greg Abbott has already signaled his support for the bill, which has passed both the House and Senate of the Texas Legislature. This bill comes as one of the most extreme restrictions in the country and will likely be challenged in court. The bill is part of the renewed effort launched by the anti-abortion movement to challenge Roe v. Wade, taking advantage of the appointments of anti-abortion Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Barrett to the United States Supreme Court.

Current law allows women to obtain an abortion up until 20 weeks of gestation. A myriad of restrictions, including mandatory but medically unnecessary sonograms, and medical costs not covered by insurance or Medicaid, already make abortion inaccessible to working women.

The American Medical Association opposed the bill, along with hundreds of physicians who stated in an open letter that the law would create a “chilling effect,” preventing doctors from providing information on all pregnancy options to patients out of fear of lawsuits.

Only one amendment was added to the bill during debate in the Texas House: to disallow convicted rapists from suing those who help obtain an abortion, which still does not prevent someone associated with the rapist from suing. Even if someone is sued and defeats the lawsuit, the defendant still cannot seek damages to recover expenses and legal costs.

Penalties for those supporting someone obtaining an abortion were reflected in a city proposition approved by voters in Lubbock, Texas last Saturday which bans abortion in the city limits and seeks to penalize anyone helping someone access an abortion in Lubbock. The measure declares Lubbock a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” which will also likely be challenged in court.

These ruling-class assaults on the reproductive rights of working women reflect the increasing reactionization of the bourgeois state as US imperialism decays further. Working women are a key target, and the necessity of fighting for a revolutionary path to overthrow this backwards society becomes only more pressing.

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